Kittisaro (Randy Weinberg ’70): Listening to the Heart

"At Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, I began to question the never-ending stress and suffering I still experienced, even with such good fortune in my life. Listening to the Heart tells the story of what led me to a Buddhist monastery in Northeast Thailand and the wonderful contemplative teachings of awakening that guided my monastic life for the next 15 years."

At Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, I began to question the never-ending stress and suffering I still experienced, even with such good fortune in my life. Listening to the Heart tells the story of what led me to a Buddhist monastery in Northeast Thailand and the wonderful contemplative teachings of awakening that guided my monastic life for the next 15 years.

Kittisaro and his wife, Thanissara, have taught meditation around the world, and in their new book Listening to the Heart, A Contemplative Journey to Engaged Buddhism, they share their adventures and the contemplative practices that have transformed their lives.

Many in the Baylor community also know Kittisaro as Randy Weinberg ’70, the class valedictorian and a five-time Mid-South state wrestling champion. “The first 20 to 25 years of my life I spent striving to be successful in wrestling and academics, imagining that with enough hard work, finally I would arrive at happiness. At Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, I began to question the never-ending stress and suffering I still experienced, even with such good fortune in my life. Listening to the Heart tells the story of what led me to a Buddhist monastery in Northeast Thailand and the wonderful contemplative teachings of awakening that guided my monastic life for the next 15 years. The book also traces the journey of my wife, Thanissara, from her London Anglo-Irish upbringing to the austere life of a Buddhist nun. It tells the story of how we eventually fell in love, got married, and moved to the magical Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa right as the country welcomed its newly elected President, Nelson Mandela.”

Ultimately, Kittisaro hopes readers will be inspired to look again at their own spiritual practice. “We all suffer and seek happiness. Young or old; Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or atheist. To me the Sacred Heart of all the great religious traditions is the willingness to pause and question, 'Who am I? What is important?' Freeing ourselves from habitual patterns that entangle us in conflict and suffering, the spiritual seeker returns to the Promised Land at the core of our being all along, the place where all things come together.”

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